Offer of £ 20million to establish a national science and conservation center at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire
An offer of £ 20million has been made to create a national science and conservation center that could put the East Midlands at the heart of science and conservation, and help tackle the global extinction crisis.
Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire has partnered with Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council to submit a bid for the Government Upgrade Fund, set up to support large, long-term investment projects that will create jobs, encourage new investments and will allow business growth.
It is hoped that the National Science and Conservation Center will contribute to the Midlands economy, create jobs and put the region on the world map as a destination for essential conservation work.
It will also provide a resource for education and is supported by a number of universities.
Twycross’s vision for 2030 is to become a European center of excellence to make it a major contributor to global conservation and animal welfare.
Since launching a master plan six years ago, the West Leicestershire Zoo has developed multi-million pound animal habitats, including its Gibbon Forest, Chimpanzee Eden and, more recently, its enclosure of Sumatran tigers.
The National Science and Conservation Center could include:
– A specially designed center offering researchers around the world the opportunity to study the four great apes as well as over 100 other species
– Educational and research facilities focused on conservation, animal welfare, biosciences, STEM activities and public engagement with science
– A state-of-the-art conference venue for global science events
– On-site accommodation for visiting conservation experts and specialists from around the world
Twycross is the only place in the UK that is home to the Four Great Apes and the center will be surrounded by their newly developed habitats.
Twycross Zoo Managing Director Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE said: “We are delighted to be working with Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council on this offer to secure significant funding to build our National Science and Conservation Center, based here in Leicestershire.
“The center will cost over £ 20million to build and if we are successful with this critical bid it will help us pursue our vision of educating and inspiring people to care and help save the species with which we share our planet. “
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council Deputy Head Councilor David Bill said: “If this offer is successful it will allow Twycross Zoo to make a significant contribution to the Midlands economy.
“The education, culture and tourism sectors have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. These innovative plans will help make the region a magnet for new jobs, research and education.
Hinckley and Bosworth MP Dr Luke Evans said: “I was delighted to take the opportunity to recommend the exciting Twycross Zoo project to the Leveling Up Fund.
“I was proud to play an important role in mobilizing support for the candidacy, enlisting the support of fellow parliamentarians in Westminster, our local councilors, the Leicestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Midlands Engine, because I truly believe in this project.
“It offers something very distinctive for us in Bosworth as well as the whole region.”
Twycross Zoo is one of the UK’s leading zoos, with around 500 animals of over 125 species. It welcomes approximately 600,000 visitors a year to its 100-acre site.
It is recognized worldwide as the “World Primate Center” and houses one of the largest collections of primates in Europe.
It is the only zoo in the UK, and one of four in the world, where visitors can see the four great apes: gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo.